It’s been a week now since the Royal Infant touched down in the Antipodes and graced South Bank to personally open Tomahawk – Brisbane’s newest beer bar – and with a nod of his regal little head ushered the city into the Beer Age. Of course as dutiful subjects of HRH, Judd and I considered it in the highest moral order to visit the bar repeatedly to see what George was banging on about.
Boldly located on South Bank’s popular Grey Street, Tomahawk is the newest member of Brisbane’s growing college of dedicated beer venues. Set up by the Tippler’s Tap crew, the bar manages to pull off an effortlessly slick combination of location, space, beer and food that I think will succeed in convincing a fair few Brisbanites to swap the Gold for something brown or black or red.
In his choice of place, the third in line to the British Monarchy is no goose – and neither are the Tomahawk guys – South Bank is probably the only place in Brisbane that feels as if it’s everyone’s (a shared space like the office lunchroom, minus the passive-aggressive post-it notes). In the same way that Brewski on Caxton Street offers good, quality beverages to punters of all walks of life, Tomahawk feels triumphantly welcoming and inclusive.
The space itself is open and inviting, without being sparse. The green tiles, chevron wood panelling, and copper bar-top adds enough aesthetics to alert the patron that this is a place of quality, without alienating or scaring people off with threats of pretense or exclusivity.
You’re just as likely to find your balding and bearded beer nerds (see About), as you are your sharply dressed office types, as you are your Grahams and your Cheryls on their way to see a matinee performance of the Mikado.
The beer – as you would expect with its pedigree – is excellent, with 13 rotating taps and a good selection of bottled beers, cider and wine on offer. Again, on the money with broad appeal, the taps when I visited were pouring a range from mid-strengths, lagers, pale ales, IPAs, porters, and stouts.
The inspiration for the food menu is drawn heavily from beer and its component ingredients, and looks as if to be made to match the beers on offer. I ate the hop-smoked trout pie and thoroughly enjoyed it, and I carefully watched other patrons eat stout lamb ribs and hop-corn chicken, and their faces didn’t seem to carry disappointment.
Whether Tomahawk is just another rung in the ladder toward a city with better beer, or it succeeds to convert drinkers en masse, it will add, no doubt, to the burgeoning beer culture taking root. Regardless of these finer points, I for one will be pledging my allegiance.